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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Testimony ends in trial of Michael Jackson doctor


Michael Jackson's doctor finally made a decision that was long overdue, telling a judge Tuesday refused to testify at the trial for manslaughter.

Minutes later, the defense rested its case and the prosecution, after brief rebuttal to testify, he closed his evidence at the trial of six weeks. That set the stage for closing arguments to begin Thursday.

The announcement of Dr. Conrad Murray arrived while jurors were out of the room and was not asked to repeat it for them.

Spectators, including Jackson's mother, father, Brother Randy and Sister Latoya, seemed to hold their breath before Murray said one of the major outstanding issues of his trial, saying he would stay away from the witness stand.

The doctor raised his hands clasped over his mouth in a sentence before asking Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor asked the cardiologist if he intended to take the stand.

The judge lectured Murray as he had done before about how the decision to testify was hers alone and that he had the right to remain silent.

"Have you taken a decision?" Pastor asked.

Murray paused, looked at all of his lawyers, seemed to sigh and said: "My decision is to not testify in this matter."

The judge asked if lead attorney Ed Cher off met with Murray about their rights and Chernoff said yes.

"The court finds the defendant knowingly, freely and expressly waived his right to testify," said the judge. "I certainly will respect that decision."

Murray had left open the possibility of calling on Monday when he told the judge that he had not made a final decision.

The judge had warned that the testimony brought the prospect of tough questioning by the prosecution. It has influenced, along with the fact that the jury had the opportunity to hear him tell his story in a recording of a police interview.

When the jurors returned to the courtroom, Cher off announced that the defense had no witnesses also after calling 16 people to testify. A total of 49 witnesses testified on both sides of more than 22 trial days.

Prosecutors say Murray gave Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol in the room of the mansion of the singer. Defense lawyers say Jackson self-administered the dose when Murray left the room.

The final expert witness was Dr. Steven Shafer propofol, which was re-called by the prosecution as a rebuttal witness to address some points raised by his former colleague, Dr. Paul White.

In the final moments of the testimony of White, was asked by defense attorney J. Michael Flanagan to differentiate between the "standard of care" and "standard practice" for doctors. Expert witnesses have said treatment of Murray Jackson was an extreme departure from the accepted standard of care.

"The standard of care is the ideal," White said. "It is what we would look for for every patient."

But he suggested that there are special situations where the standard should be adjusted to the circumstances and cannot reach the highest level.

White said the defense that Jackson caused his own death. However, White also said he would not have followed the same procedures as Murray did.

Faced with the emission standard of care, Shafer said that in special cases such as Jackson, where he treats a patient in a remote location, precautions must be above the level of care, not below.

Noting that Jackson gave him the drug propofol in his room, said: "If there is no such thing as a bedroom-based anesthesia, standard guidelines would be minimal. There is no tolerance for error because you have no backup."

Murray has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Jackson on June 25, 2009. He could face up to four years in prison and lost his medical license if convicted.

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